The launching of Dick Tiger Ihetu Foundation, scheduled for this weekend in Owerri, the Imo State capital, may provide the platform for both President Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, to meet one on one after a long while.
Both Jonathan and IBB are seeking the 2011 presidential ticket under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and have been systematically avoiding one another for some time. But organisers of the Dick Tiger Ihetu Foundation have decided to extend invitation to the two political heavyweights as a way of showing appreciation to them (Jonathan and IBB) for the recognition given to the late boxing legend.
As a military President, Babangida had honourned the late Dick Tiger in 1986 for his contribution to Nigeria’s sports, just as Jonathan rolled out the red carpet him (Dick Tiger) alongside 49 other prominent Nigerians on October 1 in Abuja.
The daughter of Dick Tiger, Justina Ihetu, who just arrived the country from her base in the United State of America, said yesterday in Lagos that the family decided to invite Jonathan and IBB for the launching as a way of appreciating the honour they gave to her late father.
According to her, the Foundation, which is non_political entity, is aimed at promoting Dick Tiger’s vision and legacy of empowerment.
“Before my father died, he laid so much emphases on education for the youths. He actually built a secondary school for his community in Imo State and this Foundation has taken it as a challenge to continue from where Dick Tiger stopped.
We gave scholarship to 20 students last year and we so many other things in line for the people. So far, we have emphasized renovation of primary and secondary school infrastructures in rural and urban communities. The Foundation believes that good education offers the most direct path towards individual and community empowerment, which is a way out of poverty,” Ihetu stated.
Also to grace the launching, which is scheduled for October 23 at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, is Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, Sports Minister, Isa Bio as well as other top politicians and sports administrators.
Meanwhile, the Dick Tiger Ihetu Foundation has received words of commendation from the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) as well as foremost boxing promoter, Don King for its achievement so far.
The son of the late boxing legend, Charles Ihutu, who is in the country for the launching, made the disclosure yesterday said that the Foundation believes in gender equality, through cultural, social, economic and political support to women and girls, adding that discipline achieved through individual and team sports would be the hallmark of the Foundation.
“As a world champion boxer, Dick Tiger achieved fame and acclaim, honored his nation and supported his community. The goal of this Foundation is to promote these principles as his legacy. The Dick Tiger Ihetu Foundation (DTIF) is a non_profit, non_political entity, dedicated to providing life_transforming opportunities to disadvantaged and under_served individuals and communities in Nigeria,” he added.